My Favorite Guacamole & Homemade Tortilla Chips

My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
Did I tell you about that one time I was on Top Chef Masters? No, well this recipe reminded me of that time, so I’ll share it with you today :)
I went to college in Los Angeles and lived & worked there for a few years after I graduated. When you live it LA it seems like everyone is and/or knows someone connected to Hollywood. This does give you an opportunity to do and see things that probably wouldn’t happen in other parts of the country.

My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
One of my managers at work had a friend looking for extras for a TV show. When I found out that it was for a taping of the first season of Top Chef Masters, I was definitely in. If you haven’t watched the show, it’s a spinoff of the show Top Chef, where seasoned chefs compete to win money for a charity of their choice – we’re talking some of the biggest names in the restaurant world.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
Now, my husband (boyfriend at the time!) and I signed up and basically were told what to wear and the time & place of the taping. Beyond that we didn’t know much more. The taping was at the SLS Hotel in Hollywood, which I think had just recently opened and is a very trendy hotel – I mean we walked into the lobby and didn’t even know where registration would be if you were a hotel guest.
We checked in and were put in a room with tons of other extras and told we would be called out in groups. They explained the event was the last challenge before the finale and the chefs were suppose to be making food for a large group. We would be able to taste the food and then needed to talk to each other about what we thought at this little cocktail tables.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
There were four chefs left at this point in the competition and I was so excited when I found out who they were: Hubert Keller, Michael Chiarello, Rick Bayless, & Anita Lo. I knew Michael Chiarello the best since I had watched his show on The Food Network many times before.
When we were led out we were able to go to each of the chefs stations and they served us their food (buffet style). This part was awesome because we actually got to chit-chat with the chef for a minute.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
I wish I remembered more about exactly what each of them cooked, but I do remember that I liked Hubert Keller’s food (I want to say it was a salmon crepe) and Rick Bayless’ food (Mexican of some kind, or course) the best. The day was unusually hot for LA and you could tell this was slightly affecting the food since it was sitting out  in the sun. Anita Lo made sushi and tried to make a sorbert with liquid nitrogen that didn’t really turn out. Those dishes just weren’t conducive to the heat. Michael Chiarello made some really good risotto and I want to say lamb.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
At one point they wanted some people to stand behind the judges as they were trying the dishes. Somehow, by husband and I got chosen to be one of those people, so we had to stand their and act like we were having this deep conversation about the food. I just remember feeling pretty akward and hot, but it was fun nonetheless.
And the best part was, when the episode ended up airing we actually made it on camera during this part of the show. We also made it on at the beginning when the “Hollywood insiders” arrive at the event. We taped the show on our DVR when it first aired, but I’ve moved since then and don’t have it anymore. I’m really going to have to find footage of our TV debut someday…haha!
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
In case you’re wondering, Rick Bayless won the challenge for that episode and Anita Lo was sent home. That meant Rick, Michael & Hubert competed against each other in the finals. Rick ended up winning those whole competition. If you don’t know much about him, he makes this amazing Mexican inspired food.
So in honor of Top Chef Master Rick Bayless, us being TV “stars” and Cinco de Mayo this weekend, I’m sharing Rick’s recipe for guacamole (which is my favorite!) and a recipe for homemade tortilla chips.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
I LOVE guacamole and we’re lucky to have avocados readily available here in Southern California. I like Rick’s recipe because it keeps things simple and doesn’t try to overpower the avocado with other flavors.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips
And homemade tortilla chips really are so easy to make and I think they taste so much better than the ones you buy at the store. I definitely don’t make them all the time, but they’re a nice treat.
My favorite Guacamole with homemade Tortilla Chips



6 garlic cloves
6  medium-large (2 1/2 pounds) ripe avocados
1/2 cup (loosely packed) coarsely chopped fresh cilantro (thick bottom stems cut off)
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice, plus a little more if necessary


1. In a small dry skillet roast over medium heat unpeeled garlic until it is soft and blackened in spots, probably 10 to 15 minutes.  Let cool, then remove the papery skins and finely chop.  
2. Cut around each avocado from end to end and back up again, then twist the halves apart.  Dislodge the pit and then using a spoon, scoop the avocado flesh into a large bowl.  
3. Add the garlic, cilantro and lime.   Mash everything together, but making sure to leave some small chunks of avocado.  Taste and season with salt, usually about 1 teaspoon.  
4. Scoop into a serving bowl and cover with plastic wrap directly on the surface of the guacamole.  Refrigerate until you are ready to serve.

Adapted from Rick Bayless

Tortilla Chips 

Ingredients (makes 96 chips)
-12 corn tortillas
-2 cups canola oil
1. In a shallow pan, heat oil to 360° F. I didn’t have a thermometer, so I usually just have to test the temperature in the first batch. 
2. Cut tortillas into even triangles (usually 6 per tortilla). You can cut multiple at one time. 
3. Gently place triangles into oil, only one layer at a time.
4. Watch carefully and flip until they’re just golden brown and crispy. on both sides. 
5. Remove with a slotted spoon or strainer and place on a paper towel to drain. 
6. Sprinkle with sea salt.
Adapted from Cupcakes & Cashmere
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  1. says

    MMM – everything looks fantastic! What a kick to be in the same room with real live tv stars huh? Thanks so much for sharing this delectable dish at Weekend Potluck. Please come back soon.

  2. says

    I Love Rick Bayless!! He’s around town in Chicago A LOT and super nice to everyone who approaches him. And not to mention all of his restaurants are amazing! Good choice!

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